Getting rid of ants can be an ordeal because if you don’t catch them early, there can be thousands of them. They get into everything, you only see ~20% of the entire colony (at most) at one time, and there can be multiple ant beds leading to a super colony underneath your lawn. Get rid of ants for good by follow these simple steps.
7 Easy Steps to Get Rid of Ants
Figure out what type of ants you have
While there are thousands of different types of ants, you’ll only see a handful if you live in the US. Knowing which one you have will give you a leg up on figuring out how to deal with them. If you have an ant problem, you’ll most likely have pavement ants, Argentine ants, odorous ants, or Carpenter ants. It’s important to identify them quickly because if you have carpenter ants, they’re eating your home. Those can be identified fairly easily because they’re much larger than normal ants and dark black.
Clean your house top to bottom
When you live in a house long enough, things fall through the cracks. Your house isn’t as clean as you think it is. Crumbs get brushed under the refrigerator and oven, your kids might be hiding part of their meals they don’t like eating, popcorn gets kicked under the couch, the can opener has a bit of caked on blueberry juice, or any number of other things could be drawing ants inside.
No matter what type of ants you may have, the road to getting rid of ants starts by giving your house a thorough cleaning. Cabinets, appliances, closets, waste bins, clean everything. It’s the only way to be 100% sure that you’ve gotten everything and can move on to the next steps to keep your house ant free.
Get rid of any potential food sources
If ants are getting into your house, they’re looking for one of two things. Food and water. When it comes to food sources, you’ll want to start keeping food in sealed containers. That means fruit, sugar, spices, cereals, and so on need to be safely stored so they don’t attract ants. This is because sometimes plastic bags and cardboard boxes aren’t enough to keep ants at bay. Store any food that doesn’t go in the freezer / fridge in sealable metal, plastic, or glass containers.
Don’t forget that there are some indoor plants that excrete honeydew, which is a food source for ants. Be sure to regularly wipe down any and all plants inside of your house to keep them from attracting these pests.
Check for indoor water sources
Ants needs water just like every other living being. If they can’t find it outside, they’re going to come knocking. Check your home for any signs of leaks or standing water to keep ants outside where they belong. Some standard places to look at sinks, tubs, showers, and your refrigerator’s drip tray.
The same thing goes for your pet’s water bowls. If your pets are finished with their water, pour out the water in the sink and dry them out. They can even be coming out of the woodwork to get water from a sponge, wet dish rag you left by the sink to dry, or even an over-watered potted plant.
Seal up entry points
If you remove all the ways into your home, ants will look for an easier target. If you don’t, you’re leaving an open door for thousands of ants to come into your home. Even the smallest crack between a window and a wall can give ants an opportunity to infest your home. Walk the inside and outside of your home to look for cracks and crevices around your windows, door frames, foundation, baseboards, pipes, and ceilings so they can be sealed up.
While you’re doing this, also be on the lookout for rotted wood. Ants love wood that’s rotting or had termite damage and you can usually find a good amount of ants calling it home.
Use indoor & outdoor ant killer
There’s no guarantee that you house is ant free yet so it’s important to target the ants both inside and out. For the indoor ants, you’ll want to use two types of ant killer. First, spray an ant insecticide around your door frames, windows, and baseboards to target any stragglers trying to into or out of your house. Second, you’ll want to use an ant bait trap near areas of ant activity. You’ll typically find said activity in or near your counters, sinks, pantries, and cabinets though you should scour your home. Even finding one or two ants in the guestroom is enough evidence to warrant placing a bait trap in there.
For your outdoor ants, you’ll want to replicate what you did inside, but you have more options outside. You don’t have to worry about your kids or pets getting into the insecticide or your food getting contaminated by it. You’ll want to spray ant killer around the perimeter of your foundation as well as around door frames, window frames, and any additional seams or seals. Spreading ant killer on visible ant beds will help cull the colony’s numbers. There’s more beyond just this though.
Your landscaping can also be attracting and harboring ants. Follow these tips to make your lawn, garden, and flowerbeds inhospitable to ants.
- Trim bushes and trees so they aren’t touching the house
- Trim bushes up so that they don’t cover the ground
- Clean outdoor trash cans as needed & keep them away from the house if possible
- Keep your lawn healthy and short
- Minimize standing water / moisture
- Clean gutters regularly
Find & kill the colony
While some people will tell you that ants are good for lawns because they help aerate it, we don’t share that sentiment. You can easily do the same thing for your lawn with an aerator without letting these pests infest your property. We recommend that you seek out any and all ant mounds and liberally spread ant killer to send them packing. You can go with the old fashioned Amdro ant killer or you can go with the spikes. Like we said earlier, we don’t like taking chances. We recommend that you do a combination of killers to get the job done.